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Serious illness and family dynamics. 2. Changes in consulting patterns of the afflicted family members


, : Serious illness and family dynamics. 2. Changes in consulting patterns of the afflicted family members. Family Practice 2(2): 70-75

This article examines the effect of an acute serious illness in one member of a family on the subsequent health behaviour of that patient. The number of consultations made before and after their acute serious illness was measured for 35 patients and compared with a control group of 708 family members who had not experienced an illness. An increase in the number of minor and serious complaints was noted in the year after the illness. In the case of minor complaints the changes ranged from four more complaints to six less, thus enabling the effect of background family characteristics--flexibility, conflict avoidance and family strain--to be investigated. More flexibility and lower family strain correlated with less presented morbidity. Other variables such as age and size of family also correlated with morbidity. The role of the general practitioner in giving assistance to patients affected by a life-threatening disease and their family members therefore goes much further than just the treatment of the acute illness itself.

US$29.90

PMID: 4007316


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